Brothers of Charity forced to pay thousands in increments despite looming cuts

The Brothers of Charity Services in Galway will be forced to pay €380,000 in salary increments to staff next year despite facing devastating funding cuts of more than €2 million.

The charity has warned that an anticipated reduction of five per cent to its funding from the HSE could result in the closure of 24 residential beds and 34 day-care places for people with intellectual disabilities in Galway.

In addition to the closure of residential and day-care places, the Brothers of Charity Services has warned that it could be forced to reduce support for families of people with disabilities by up to 5,000 hours in 2013.

Despite this, the cash-strapped organisation will still have to find money to pay salary increments to staff of more than €380,000 next year due to the terms of the Croke Park Agreement.

Fine Gael Galway West TD Brian Walsh has described the prospect of further cuts as “devastating” and said the pay packets of public servants were being protected at the expense of services which are a lifeline for the most vulnerable.

“The non-pay side of the charity’s budget has been absolutely cut to the bone and no further savings can be achieved without seriously compromising the vital services that it provides,” he said. “The needs of people with intellectual disabilities are being sacrificed on the altar of the Croke Park Agreement.”

The charity has already sustained a reduction in funding from the HSE of €8.2 million over the past four years, representing almost a fifth of its total State subsidy.

Because pay-related expenditure constitutes more than 80 per cent of the organisation’s budget and is protected under the terms of the Croke Park Agreement, any further savings will have to be achieved by cutting frontline services.

“The Government has come to office tasked with making tough decisions. But cutting respite care for the families of people with disabilities is not what I envisaged as such a tough decision,” said Dep Walsh. “Standing up to unions and sectoral interests, and tackling the issue of the unsustainability of the Croke Park Agreement would be a tough decision, but it is one that I believe the Government must make

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